American Harvest (Part I)
- Publication date
- Public Domain
- Digitizing sponsor
- Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation
American Harvest celebrates the richness and the bounty of America's natural resources, and then sets them all up to be cut, mined, dug, drilled and consumed. It forcefully demonstrates how central automobile manufacturing is to the American economy, but even more strikingly it shows the effects of the automobile upon our landscape.
Almost alone among the key players of this century's history, the landscape has remained silent. But in truth it may be the most expert witness of all. In its broadest sense, landscape has been a stage on which struggles have been enacted -- where humans extract resources from the earth, suburbs drain people and wealth from cities, and territory is contested between warring groups. Landscape is also a kind of slate upon which evidence of human culture, habitation and labor is written and from which it may be read. In Harvest, landscape is the subject (or victim) of human activity twice over: the first time as a source of raw materials, the second as territory occupied by factories, houses and highways. In fact, Harvest comes close to being a documentary treatment of industry's contention with nature, and in doing so confirms landscape as a stage of struggle between these two forces.
Almost as often as it mentions the richness of America's natural resources, Harvest stresses the idea of "interdependence," invoking it at least thirteen times. As in the film From Dawn to Sunset (1937), seen on the Capitalist Realism disc, Chevrolet is trying to promote this idea as an alternative to the idea that different classes have different interests, as a way of appearing to unite workers, factory owners and consumers into a common and harmonious group based on the interdependency of production and consumption. Again and again, this theme reappears in films sponsored by major national manufacturers from the thirties through the sixties, and I would venture to say that its ebb and flow related to the level of labor militancy at any given time. Ultimately, the idea of interdependence harmonizes with the spirit of national unity that originated with the New Deal as a broad-based response to the Great Depression, metamorphosed into the total national mobilization of World War II, and was finally redirected into the defensive, self-reliant xenophobia of Cold War days. To speak of interdependence implies the existence of those upon whom one cannot depend; they are the ones who by strike, sabotage or inefficiency would break the circle.
Interdependence stops at our borders. None of the raw materials and none of the manufacturing we see in Harvest come from overseas; our "American harvest" admits no dependence on foreign mines, mills or labor. Today, as we know, General Motors could not make this film with a straight face.
Harvest's images are as visually arresting as they ever are in an industrial film, but the verbal equivalent of these hot shots reaches new heights of bombast. The pretentious narration, delivered by John Forsythe, at one time a Jam Handy regular, is sometimes like a campaign speech (mentioning thirty-five states by name), sometimes scriptural, almost always exaggerative, and occasionally almost incoherent. Perhaps the worst sentence in the whole picture: "From all the designs and all the plans, all the materials from all the processes, and all the parts made by all the skills of all the men and all the magic of all the machines move through all the pageant of production in a great orchestration of interdependence one upon another and another into a fine climactic assembly of the finest products of all of us for all of us, for all the farms and all the cities and towns of all our land."
Despite the seeming irrelevancy of Harvest's language, it's well worth parsing these tortured sentences and cutting through the hyperbole to see exactly what General Motors is telling us. What remains is an eloquent statement of what was and continues to be the American corporate point of view, which sounds like this:
¥ We (the great industrial corporations) mobilize human beings, technology and investment to turn the earth's resources -- ours for the taking -- into products that have changed your life and are creating a better world;
¥ All of us -- workers, farmers, engineers and management -- depend upon one another, and we depend on the success of our interdependency;
¥ Only we (the great industrial corporations) are capable of fulfilling this great task with success;
¥ In doing so we have changed the face of America;
¥ And we will continue.
Even after almost forty-five years, the ideas that Harvest expresses still permeate corporate speech, though some allowance is now made for environmental consciousness. Many of the same images of extraction continue to appear in commercials, print advertising and annual reports; the new twist is that corporations now claim to accept responsibility for the stewardship of diminishing natural resources. Though Harvest's bombast and pretension may initially seem dated and absurd, the power behind its assertions has given them the clout to prevail.
American Harvest was the first of a series of "institutional" films sponsored by Chevrolet (see also American Look on The Rainbow is Yours disc). Others included American Engineer (1955); American Maker (1960) and American Thrift (1962). Each was a half-hour, high-budget production, made to show on television, before community and school groups, and in theaters. Their goal: to create a close link in the minds of viewers between Chevrolet and basic aspects of the American economy: extraction of raw materials and interdependency (Harvest); engineering and production planning (Engineer); design and consumer marketing (Look); labor, manufacturing and mass production (Maker); and women, consumption and money (Thrift).
01:05:14:00 LS Prairie
01:05:23:00 CU Plow blades cut through earth
01:05:37:00 LS Farmer drives tractor pulling plow
01:05:53:00 LS Cattle on the range seen in the distance moving
01:06:01:00 LS Cowboy herding cattle on the range
01:06:12:00 LS Cattle herd
01:06:19:00 LS Floor of mine erupts into a large explosion
01:06:36:00 MS Seen from overhead, blue-collar workers go to work
01:06:50:00 CU Kernels of wheat moving fills screen
01:06:54:00 MS Man in cowboy drinks water from battered tin cup
01:06:58:00 LS Camera pans field of golden wheat
01:07:04:00 LS Tractor harvesting wheat seen in the distance
01:07:07:00 LS Aerial farm
01:07:12:00 LS Red tractor harvesting grain
01:07:17:00 Sugar being poured
01:07:22:05 MS Man in cowboy hat, plaid shirt, smoking corncob pipe
01:07:24:00 LS African-American workers harvesting sugar cane by
01:07:34:00 LS Crane moves piles of sugar cane
01:07:40:00 CU Cotton ball
01:07:43:00 CU Man in cowboy hat wipes off perspiration with cloth
01:07:49:00 LS Cotton being mechanically harvested
01:07:58:00 MS Cotton plants in the field being sucked into a harvester
01:08:05:00 LS Raw cotton pouring out of bins onto giant pile
01:08:11:00 LS Baled cotton
01:08:19:00 CU Raw wool falling onto a pile
01:08:24:00 CU Man in cowboy hat looks into distance
01:08:28:00 LS Herd of sheep in mountains
01:08:37:00 MS Herd of mohaired goats
01:08:41:00 LS Shepherds herd on horses
01:08:50:00 LS Flock of sheep
01:08:53:00 LS Herd of mohaired goats
01:09:01:00 CU Cow hide (live)
01:09:05:00 CU Man's weatherbeaten face looking off into the distance; puts on cowboy hat
01:09:17:00 LS Cattle wander on prairie
01:09:40:00 CU Tree with cuts in bark
01:09:42:00 MS African-American man cuts into pine tree to extract resin
to make turpentine using simple hand tools
01:10:00:00 LS Draft animal pulls man and cart loaded with two large barrels in the woods
01:10:17:00 MS Man rolls wooden barrel of turpentine up crude ramp
01:10:30:00 MS Loaded pickup truck drives through the woods
01:10:38:00 MS Oil rig
01:11:06:00 LS Giant round oil refinery tanks
01:11:12:00 LS Refinery buildings and pipes
01:11:39:00 MS Large rocks tumble
01:11:42:00 MS Man operates giant steam shovel
01:12:00:00 MS Steam shovels scoops ore
01:12:19:00 LS Section of mine
01:12:22:00 LS Rail cars travel along section of mine
01:12:27:00 CU Poured iron ore
01:12:50:00 MS Steam shovel loads ore onto rail car
01:13:12:00 MS Crane carries coal
01:13:21:00 CU Anthracite coal rocks
01:13:25:00 LS Pile of coal
01:13:28:00 CU Single lump of coal revolving in studio
01:13:32:00 CU Single lump of coke revolving in studio
01:13:36:00 CU Single lump of molybdenum revolving in studio
01:13:44:00 CU Single lump of vanadium revolving in studio
01:13:58:00 CU Quartz crystals spinning (studio shot)
01:14:00:00 CU Single lump of chromium revolving in studio
01:14:13:00 CU Single lump of tungsten revolving in studio
01:14:18:00 CU Single lump of lead revolving in studio
01:14:25:00 CU Gold ore
01:14:36:00 CU Ingots are moved mechanically into furnaces
01:14:56:00 CU Workers in hard hats go to work
01:15:12:00 LS Two lumberjacks standing on opposite sides of a giant
01:15:21:00 MS Lumberjack swings axe at giant tree
01:15:21:00 LS Giant tree
01:15:32:00 LS Giant tree falls; much dust flies
01:15:48:00 LS Tractor moves tree trunk through woods
01:15:54:00 MS Large machine splints giant log
01:16:09:00 LS Giant log is pulled behind truck
01:16:13:00 LS Driver's side window POV; landscape going by
01:16:17:00 MS Front of locomotive coming toward camera
01:16:30:00 LS Side of train; long rows of cars
01:16:31:00 MS Front cab of truck with sign "HORSES" on highway
01:16:36:00 MS Truck driver inside his cab
01:16:38:00 LS "Slick Airways" jet aircraft takesoff
01:16:43:00 MS Forklift unloads airplane
01:16:53:00 MS Textile mill equipment
01:16:56:00 MS Wool being spun onto dozens of spindles; shot fills screen
01:17:00:00 LS Assembly line spinning of yarn
01:17:15:00 CU Rolls of fabric
01:17:20:00 CU Kernels of corn (unhusked) fill screen
01:17:26:00 LS Truck fills troughs with corn for cows to eat
01:17:29:00 LS Dozens of cows feed at a single large trough
01:17:38:00 CU Roll of artificial leather
01:17:50:00 MS Man works with vats of colored dyes in factory
01:17:55:00 MS Artificial leather is dyed
01:18:00:00 CU Artificial leather is embossed with a roller
01:18:14:00 CU Cotton plants in a field
01:18:30:00 MS Man places roll of thread on enormous machine with
dozens of other rolls of thread
01:18:40:00 MS Tire manufacturing processes
01:19:26:00 MS Industrial size glass sheet is placed on assemblyline
01:19:37:00 CU Mechanical grinding of glass
01:19:38:00 MS Machine cuts glass sheets to size of car windows
01:19:45:00 MS Women handle car windows
01:19:49:00 MS Man grinds glass of car windows
01:19:57:00 MS Man looks through glass windows into camera; he marks some OK
01:20:00:00 MS Steel pours
01:20:21:00 CU Fiery flames of steel furnace
01:20:30:00 CU Ingots travel along conveyor
01:20:38:00 MS Steel is pressed out in sheets
01:20:43:00 MS Steel in sheets goes onto rolls
01:20:55:00 MS Man places steel into stamping machine
01:21:03:00 MS Steel car parts polished by machine
01:21:15:00 MS Car bumpers travel along assemblyline
01:21:27:00 MS Bumpers ascend from chromium bath
01:21:33:00 MS Man in hardhat stands in front of flames
01:21:39:00 MS Man in protective gear casts metal parts
01:21:57:00 MS Engine blocks are manufactured
01:22:17:00 CU Manufacture of a differential pinion gear
01:22:23:00 MS Railroad engineer leaning out of cab
01:22:29:00 LS Cargo barge seen from above
01:22:32:00 CU Scientist pour red liquid from beaker into test tube
01:22:38:00 CU Man's hand draws on graph paper
01:22:48:00 LS Interior plant static
01:23:00:00 MS Assemblylines
01:23:33:00 CU Bank of factory gauges
01:23:43:00 CU Single gauge
01:24:00:00 MS Workers inspect metal parts with precision tools
01:24:44:00 [END PART 2]
01:31:40:00 MS Workers inspect metal parts with precision tools
01:31:59:00 CU Women workers on assembly lines
01:32:15:00 LS Workers stamp metal parts in furnace
01:32:40:00 LS Workers surrounded by moving car parts
01:33:25:00 MS Automated movement of car parts
01:33:40:00 LS Car doors, roofs move around factory
01:34:21:00 MS Car engines hanging on chains
01:34:26:00 MS Car parts loaded by forklift
01:35:32:00 LS Car body in loaded onto undercarriage
01:35:47:00 MS Workers on assembly line install headlights
01:35:49:00 MS Worker on assembly line installs car battery
01:35:56:00 MS Worker installs steering wheel
01:36:05:00 LS Man drives car off assembly line
01:36:15:00 MS Man places inspection stickers on interior car windshield
01:36:46:00 LS Automotive plant aerial view
01:36:51:00 LS Time-lapse city arises around manufacturing plant
01:37:00:00 LS Truck carrying shrouded automobiles leaves plant
01:37:04:00 LS Highway building equipment
01:37:17:00 LS Truck carrying automobiles drives by
01:37:35:00 Artist's representation of city development
01:37:40:00 MS Car drives into shopping center parking lot
01:37:48:00 MS Car parks in space at shopping center
01:38:04:00 LS Cars at gas station; attendants in white pump gas, look
01:38:11:00 CU "BIG BOY" restaurant sign
01:38:17:00 LS Car at drive-in service area of restaurant
01:38:23:00 MS Waitress takes tray which is perched on side of car
01:38:27:00 MS School bus drives up to school
01:38:32:00 LS School children disembark school bus
01:38:40:00 MS Children play at recess
01:38:49:00 LS Men unload carpentry tools from car's trunk
01:38:52:00 MS Construction of wood-framed houses
01:39:06:00 MS Crane operator
01:39:11:00 LS Crane lifts steel onto the upper floors of a building under
01:39:12:00 MS Two men with hats exchange cash; seen from below
01:39:15:00 LS Two men with hats exchange cash; then shake hands
01:39:28:00 MS Workers spray parts on assembly line
01:39:39:00 MS Trucks carrying large pipe sections roll by
01:39:42:00 MS Pickup truck driving on road
01:39:47:00 MS Van driving on road
01:39:49:00 MS Car driving on road
01:40:03:00 LS Aerial view large parking lot; people scurrying
01:40:10:00 LS Aerial view camera pans from parking lot into sports
stadium full of people
01:40:12:00 LS Ocean, beach, cliffs
01:40:20:00 LS Horses in corral seen from road
01:40:31:00 LS Downhill skiers on slope
01:40:42:00 LS Driver's POV; driving along highway which seems to go
directly into the ocean
01:40:47:00 LS Driving through stand of palm trees
01:40:49:00 LS Driving along dirt road through cliffs
01:41:00:00 LS Car seen traveling on top of bluff over beach
01:41:21:25: [END OF FILM]
AGRICULTURE FARMING INDUSTRY AUTOMOBILES CHEVROLET ABUNDANCE STEEL ASSEMBLY LINES WORKERS TRANSPORTATION COTTON BLACKS SCENICS HIGHWAYS FARMERS FOOTBALL FOOD DRIVE-INS RESTAURANTS BLACK WORKERS TIRES RUBBER PAINT WOMEN MEN HOMES COWS CATTLE ANIMALS ADVERTISING GRAIN HARVESTS CROPS COMMODITIES REGIONAL PLANNING INSTITUTIONAL FILMS RESOURCE EXTRACTION FORESTS FELLING TREES LUMBERMEN LUMBER WORKERS FORESTRY TRUCKS MUSIC MANUFACTURING
AMERICAN HARVEST - Narration
Somewhere, with someone on the job, everything we have is started.
Somewhere, on some fertile acre, the plow knifes through soil that abounds with promise. And the farmer, although he plows alone, is not alone. His life is tied in with the lives of many others, of all of us who depend on him and on his mechanized labors. And he, in turn, depends on all of us.
Somewhere, on a lonely range, the earth trembles under the hooves of cattle on the move, and the man who rides the range alone, if he listens with vision, can hear in the rumble of the herd the beginnings of the rumble of distant machinery in the factories where others will finish the work he has begun.
Somewhere, someone sets a blast to erupt rich ores of metal from stubborn rock and sets men to work in smelter and in blast furnace, in mill and in factory. And thereafter, people, many interdependent people, come to fashion the products of human inventiveness from all the bounty of nature.
Wheat -- and to grow the wheat it takes a farmer. From New York to Michigan, to Nebraska, to Oregon, and from the Dakotas down through all the great grainbelt, a thousand, ten thousand, and a hundred thousand wheat farmers grow the finest of wheat -- raw material for industrial alcohols, for fine finishes.
Sugar -- and to grow sugar the sugar farmer. In the bottomlands of Mississippi and the Everglades of Florida, on the Delta and in the Evangeline country grows the sugar cane. Cane sugar, raw material for carbon and lampblack, for solvents.
Cotton -- and the farmer to grow the cotton. Raw material for fabrics and for lacquers and for plastics. In the Carolinas, in Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas, Alabama, throughout the Old South and even in the Deep South, cotton still is king. In Texas, too, and now in California, there's a great snowy harvest. Cartload by cartload and bale upon bale, as far as the eye can see.
Cotton for fabrics and wool for fabrics. On the slopes of the Sierras a sheepherder. He grazes his flock in the high, cool air that builds thicker, longer, finer, stronger fleeces on milling backs. Mohaired goats roam the plains of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, where all the silken fleece is tempered by baking days and toughened by freezing nights. Fine fleece of the sheep flock, and long-stapled fleece of the mohaired goats, for fine upholstery.
Tough hides for tough, durable leather. And it takes tough, durable men to ride the herds to grow those hides to harvest. From the Ox-Bow to the Laramie, all along the Red River and the Rio Grande, a thousand, ten thousand outflung herds. With sun and with wind, with rain and with sand as her tools, with heat and with cold, Nature burnishes and strengthens hide and hair on the open range from Dodge City to the foothills of the Western mountains.
Perhaps there are jobs you never thought of as part of the great American economy pattern. But every basic task is essential to the necessity and convenience of all in this blessed land of all of us. West or South, no matter where you go or what you are looking for, you'll find somebody working. Working is a part of the vast and intricate and interlocking network of production that leads the raw material to finished product. The turpentine barrel in Florida and Georgia is the first link in an endless conveyor belt that winds its way from South or East to West and North, from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.
In the oilfields of all America there is a manmade tree that grows. A deep-rooted tree that is to yield a strange assortment of fruits which will be soap and candles, paints and asphalts. From its roots thousands of feet in the earth the oilwell rig brings forth the harvest of precious sap that is to become a polish and a lubricant and a coloring and a fuel. In the giant test tubes and apparatus of the refineries, the oil crudes here are cracked and distilled, here are cleaned and purified, here are separated and sorted into a hundred basic materials for a thousand interdependent industries and a thousand times a thousand interdependent workers, managers and engineers.
On the job, commanding great tools from deep within the plentiful earth, come the metal ores with which America is so richly blessed. Copper for bearings and copper for batteries, copper for radiators and for electrical systems, copper from Utah and Montana, from Michigan and Wyoming, from Colorado and New Mexico, from Idaho and Arizona and Nevada. And again more of the red gold metal from Washington and Oregon.
This red, powdery earth is rust. Call it iron ore, call it ferric oxide; it is the touchstone that has magically transformed a civilization. In the raw, red earth of Hibbing on the Mesabi, the Trenton and Vermillion ranges, steel has its beginnings. The mother of steel is iron. There is more than a ton of iron and steel in the car you drive. Several kinds of iron and more than a hundreds of kinds of steel. And from the rusting earth come the ores that are the beginnings of all that rich harvest of metals born of iron and sired by the coal that is mated with iron to make steels of many kinds. Soft coal, hard coal -- and the coke that comes from coke to bring steel into being. To purify and refine the steels, coal and coke. To harden steel for roller bearings and for starter motor assemblies, fine molybdenum. Toughen steel and precision parts, fine vanadium. To shape and to polish precise mechanical parts, crystalline quartz. For alloy steels, for stainless steel, for plating bumpers and ornamental trim, bright chromium. For the tiny filaments in electric light bulbs, tungsten. For storage batteries, for radiator assemblies, and for the batt of metal in engine bearings, pure lead. And even the more famously precious metal, gold.
Any metal can be more precious than gold if it is the one metal needed at the time. Each metal may depend on one or more of the others for success for use. Copper and aluminum are precious in themselves. And all these ores for all these many metals call for many men to dig them from the earth and bring them forth. Any natural lack or artificial shortage may stop the entire economic parade.
You may be a lumberjack teamed up in Washington or Maine, in Mississippi or Michigan, in Florida or Georgia or East Texas -- in the Paul Bunyan country or the empire of the Pacific Northwest. The trees you fell and the logs you drive make pulp for paper to blueprint the dreams that put a hundred thousand men to work on a new model and a new job. The way we do it in America takes a lot of different people working together in a lot of different places.
As all rivulets and brooks flow to make the river, so all the wondrous products of forest and ranch, mine and farm flow together. On highways of steel the many raw materials move, contributions of every state in the Union. On highways of gravel and concrete roll the basic supplies for the mills of industry. And on the high air lanes of the trackless skies fly products to the factories for processing.
In the textile mills of Pennsylvania, Connecticut and the Carolinas, sheep wool and mohair are the beginnings of more interrelated jobs for men and women. Spun by mechanical spiders into gleaming strands, cotton, sheep wool and mohair are woven by incredibly precise mechanical fingers into luxury fabrics.
Corn -- the golden treasure of farmers in Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois, and corn of Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Nebraska. One way of changing corn into leather is on the "subassembly line" of the feeding lot, but a shorter way is through the magic of chemistry. Corn is now directly processed into the plastic ingredients of artificial leather. With these rich and glowing colors, the chemists improve on nature. Yard after endless yard of perfect and flawless material bears ingrained in its very structure the colors and designs that will enhance its beauty in the interior trim of the finest motorcars.
The tire you ride on -- born in a Mississippi cotton patch, in a canefield in Louisiana. Maybe it started when some of its strange synthetic makings were pumped up from the ground in California, or boiled up from the earth in Texas. And in the factories of Detroit and Akron and Dayton, men weave and fashion the basic materials -- cotton and rayon, sulfur and carbon, rubber from trees and rubber from oilwells. A gripping, springing, live thing, resiliently spry and untiringly useful.
Sand and flame make glass. But it takes skilled men to grind and polish glass to optical clarity for safety vision. And seeing to all of it, and again seeing that the finished product is perfect for seeing, means yet another long chain of interdependent jobs from sandpit to factory.
The processing of fine ores into finer steels for the finest of product brings into play a great range of facilities. The linkage of jobs to be done along the line is always and infinitely expanding. From flat stock and sheet metal, bar and rod and ingot, come the basic forms to be forged and pressed, to be cut, to be ground and then polished into many thousands of interrelated but separate and individual parts, in factories located along all the railways and highways of America.
For the bumpers of your family car, steel from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and steel from Pittsburg, California join with the copper from Utah and chromium from Texas for beauty combined with massive protection. The handiwork of men in the mill and men in the smelter makes work for the hands of the men in the casting and forging plants. Melted and cast into the cylinder block of the Valve-in-Head engine are the grey iron pigs. Here in grey iron are the tough settings for the bone structure of the finest transportation for all of us on all our roads and boulevards.
What we harvest, what we dig and what we produce roll into the workdays and paydays and playdays of all of us.
Here, gleaming and precise, is a differential pinion gear. It took a miner to get it from the ground and a railroad man to carry it to the docks. A crew of merchant seamen cargoed the red dust to the blast furnaces. It took the chemist and the metallurgist to alloy and temper it before it could be shaped. Engineers designed it using pencils made in Pennsylvania and slide rules from New York. To design and build the phenomenal machine tools to make the machines, it took men in other plants. To build these intricate and wonderful machines themselves took other skillful men in other factories. To guide and to use the machines takes more men with hands that are skilled and finely productive. Behind each such job is the mighty panorama of men at other jobs. All of us making a living and making a fine product for others and ourselves and our families. For all of us who run machines, and for all of us who sell other things to other men who run machines.
Gauges to increase the power of vision a thousand times, to make the sense of touch so delicate that it can weigh a puff of smoke. To magnify the inch a million fold. Gauges that are marvels of precision extend the senses of men in the countless comparisons, inspections and tests that finalize the perfection of each working part. It takes supreme precision to give us the smooth and effortless driving that all of us want. But men and women, and only men and women, have the judgment to tell right from wrong; to separate the best from anything less than the best. Making sure we have done right by all the finest materials that America can supply calls for a whole new category of excellence in service, vigilance and devotion applied to the ideal of seeing that only the best passes inspection.
In the factories, locally built, giving local employment in every great area of the nation. Each factory with its system of communications and intercommunications is in itself a part and portion of other factories which begin where it ends or end where it starts to fabricate or fashion or finish the fine products of the thousands of suppliers and the thousands of suppliers who supply those suppliers with all the parts of all the components that help to make up the complete automobile.
Today's product of the superbly equipped plants is the life story of ten thousand engineers, with hundreds of supporting departments and thousands of supporting suppliers, completed by the master hands of a million factory men who inscribe all of their ideas in metal. The careful and meticulous attention to every detail of quality and perfection has resulted in constantly improved performance, efficiency and stamina through the years. That is the story told in the rhythm of the wonderfully precise machines as they dance to the mastery of the workers' hands.
Each of more than 17,000 parts must fit smoothly, accurately, rightly with some other part. And the men on the assembly lines know that each part will be there when it is needed, because someone plans it that way and manages it that way. The men on the assembly lines know that each material will be fitting and each part will fit, because someone builds it that way and someone checks it to see that it is that way. And so it is that in the finished motor car 17,000 separate and individual parts are so well designed and so well combined all to give us just the qualities we demand in our finest of transportation; the beauty and the comfort and the fine long-life performance with fine economy. From all the designs and all the plans, all the materials from all the processes, and all the parts made by all the skills of all the men and all the magic of all the machines move through all the pageant of production in a great orchestration of interdependence one upon another and another into a fine climactic assembly of the finest products of all of us for all of us, for all the farms and all the cities and towns of all our land. And the men who inspect the final product know that each part must be of perfection certified, quality first and last.
The harvest of America's finest automobiles keeps rolling off the assembly lines year after year, every year finer and finer.
The face of America has been changed. A factory is built out in the open country and quickly a great city arises around it. Over broad highways made by and made for the automobile, what Americans have produced comes back to serve Americans. So it is that we can live in the country, work in the city. Life in America has changed. So it is that we can make our living on the farm, and have a home in town. So it is that we can live where we want to, as shopping centers now come out to meet us. The ever-expanding involvement of people takes on a new dimension -- the great new dimension of interrelated use. The new, individual transportation means new freedom of movement to all of us, the dispelling of distance; and for country-dwellers as for city-dwellers a new and far and wide range of life. New businesses large and small have developed from putting America on wheels. It has created more jobs for more people, all interdependent on each other. And all continue to profit from it in ever new ways in each new generation of youth.
Putting America's children on wheels has changed our schools. It has made possible better education, as built for better training for tomorrow, and all the profit from it in health and wealth and recreation. Putting America's workers on wheels now means that there is more work within ready reach, more work for men to do and more ways to get to the work and make more money. On the money someone else makes, all of us are dependent for the harvest of money we make. In all America the money we make on any job changes hands many times, and every time it changes hands it benefits all of us -- the miner and the farmer and the rancher all producing the finest materials; the worker and the machine all using the finest, the newest processes to do finely by those finest materials; building the finest and the largest low-cost cars and trucks for everyone to haul anything anywhere and haul anyone, including ourselves.
And so it is that all of us in interdependence live independently on wheels. And all this far-reaching interdependence is the great secret of why it is possible to put America's automobile within the reach of so many people. And all America, all its rockbound beauty, all its pleasant vistas, all its historic shrines, and all its ways of living, all its sports and recreations, all its scenic grandeur, along all its farflung highways, within the reach of all.
- 2002-07-16 00:00:00
- Closed captioning
- United States
- Run time
Subject: "The Way We Do It In America Takes Alot Of Different Men Living In Different Places"
This intricate film (parts1+2) shows us how the automobile industry feeds itself, and life in America in general. A Chevrolet in 1955 had 17,000 parts, each of which had to fit precisley with each other. The makers of these parts are the workers who work in the fields and factories that produce these parts.
Because of their jobs they are able to purchase things like homes and cars, thus perpetuating the circle of production/consumption, thus perpetuating their own jobs/lifestyles, and hey, why not?
This film is great for the whole family, especially the kids. Great alternative to Thomas The Train.
Subject: Ohhhh! Manufacturing is GOOD! NOW I understand!
Subject: American Harvest (Full Film)
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 6: The Uncharted Landscape.
Uploaded by Unknown on